For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series presented by Babcock Hoops, we have Julian Strawther, from Henderson, Nevada:
Prospective Insight: Describe your game – what are your greatest strengths and biggest areas for improvement? What’s the most underrated aspect of your game?
Julian Strawther: First thing is I’m a big guard who can play one through four...I can guard one through four, too. I’m a really good outside shooter. I can handle the ball. Honestly, the biggest thing I bring to the game is versatility, and the ability to play multiple positions. I need to work on just defense, getting quicker and more athletic, but that’s going to come once I get to the next level, so I’m looking forward to it. An underrated aspect is my ability to make plays for my teammates. I feel like I put guys in the right position, by making the right passes and reads...so just being able to separate yourself by making plays for your teammates is something underrated about my game.
PI: Out of all the guys you’ve matched up with up to this point, who has been the toughest?
JS: I actually matched up with Josh Christopher last year in the Tark Classic...that was a battle, I scored like 48 points and he scored 37 points, it was a battle.
PI: Three years down, one to go. What are your main goals you want to accomplish before your high school career is over?
JS: My school has never been to a state tournament, so that’s my main goal, but other than that, just winning the Nevada Gatorade player of the year and just things like that...having fun before I’m off to school.
PI: Talk about how your game has developed over the years.
JS: At first I wasn’t one of those guys who was getting publicity in middle school, but my freshman summer going into my sophomore year I really blew up and that’s when I was at my highest peak in the rankings. I think I hit #12 on ESPN, I’ve dropped slowly from there, but I feel like I’m only getting better as a player and I’m just ready to go to Gonzaga and kill.
PI: What made you choose Gonzaga over other schools?
JS: They just win and that’s really the main thing. They score the most points in the country. Coach Few is a Hall of Fame coach. I mean just the ability to play in all of the biggest pre-season tournaments...they played Duke in the Maui championship, last year. I mean not too many schools are going to give you that type of opportunity and then they just get their guys to the next level and that’s my main goal.
PI: How many offers did you have before choosing Gonzaga?
JS: Ultimately I had like 26 offers, but then I cut it to 10, and on my birthday I decided I was going to commit.
PI: Which players impressed you the most on the EYBL circuit, last summer?
JS: The first two guys who come to mind are my AAU teammates Josh Christopher and Jaden Hardy. I mean those are two of the best scorers in the country. No one can really score with them. Then just other guys like Scottie Barnes, Isaiah Todd, Cade Cunningham is really nice...those are some of the guys that really jump out.
PI: Name 4 words that best describe you.
JS: “Gets buckets”
PI: College or pro, current or former player – do you model your game after anyone?
JS: Definitely Jayson Tatum because we have a similar frame and he can score at all three levels. He creates his own shot with ease. Also guys like Carmelo Anthony, a bigger guy who can get to the short corner, create his own mid-range shots, be a big guard who bullies the little guards and also gets by the bigger guys.
PI: Which position do you view yourself as?
JS: Small forward, for sure.
PI: Please explain what Julian Strawther brings to a team, regardless of the situation.
JS: Just a lot of versatility. I mean whatever coach asks me to do that’s what I’m going to go out and do, whether it’s to rebound or score, or anything. I averaged the second most rebounds on my team at 8 per game in EYBL; I’m guarding 7-footers one game then I’m guarding 5’10” guards the next, so just being able to do whatever my coach asks me to do is what I’m bringing to the table.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
JS: To really have fun with it because if you’re not having fun then you’re just wasting your time, honestly. When you’re in the gym just making the most of it, enjoying it, because you never know when it could be your last day playing basketball, you never know when it’s going to end so just enjoying yourself, having fun, and just making the most of it.
PI: What, or who, would you say is your biggest motivation in life?
JS: My mom is definitely my biggest motivator, but in the basketball world I’ve always looked up to LeBron. I also have had my mentor for years, Quincy Pondexter, who’s an NBA veteran. So I stay with him in the summertime, sometimes I work out with him six weeks at a time so he definitely pushes me to my limits...but he’s always doing it for the best to make me better as a player.
PI: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
JS: Just in the league, providing for my family, you know whatever my role is in the league I’m willing to take it...but my goal is to strive to be the best me that I can and if that’s being a star player on an NBA team then that’s what I’m going to do...but if it’s being a role player then that’s what I’m going to do, too.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you want to be remembered for?
JS: Just being more than a basketball player. I mean whether it’s in the community or being a great teammate, you know if a kid wanted a picture I’m never going to turn them down because that could make someone’s day or break someone’s day. You never know what’s going on with that kid so just being a great person more than just a great basketball player.